One-in-10 Americans Are Severely Obese; Women See Higher Rates
(Bloomberg) -- Nearly one-in-10 Americans is severely obese with the rate for adult women almost twice as high as men, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control.
The proportion of females aged 20 and older who suffer from severe obesity was 11.5% in 2017-2018, compared with 6.9% for men, the CDC said in a statement on Thursday. Black adults had the highest prevalence at 13.8% while Asian adults had the lowest at 2%.
The American Medical Association designated obesity -- which is associated with hypertension, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, along with increased health care costs -- as a disease in 2013. Obesity rates increased to 42.4% in 2017-2018 from 30.5% in 1999-2000.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December predicted that nearly half of the adult population in the U.S. will be obese by 2030, and almost a quarter will be severely obese. Low-income Americans, non-Hispanic black adults and women are likely to be disproportionately affected, the study said.
The Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday touched on the growing problem of obesity. Michael Bloomberg -- who as the former mayor of New York City banned artificial trans fats in restaurants and proposed a ban on large sugary drinks -- defended his health policies when asked if he would try to institute similar measures at a national level if he becomes president. Joe Biden pledged to allocate $50 billion to the National Institute of Health over five years to focus on obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
Obesity is measured by the so-called Body Mass Index, or BMI, which divides an adult’s weight in kilograms by their height in squared meters. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A person is considered obese with a BMI at 30 or above. A BMI of 40 or higher is classified as extremely or severely obese.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.